Medium = Message @ Ed Video, Guelph, Ontario

07Jun12

Medium = Message at Ed Video

TOM BEEDHAM ON JUNE 7, 2012

Panchal Mansaram exhibit massages tense relationship between East and West

The medium is the message.” Coined by Marshall McLuhan in a 1964 publication calledUnderstanding Media: The Extensions of Man and known by name as the “McLuhan Equation,” the concept was that the meaning of a medium format embeds itself in the message it presents so that the personal and social receptions of any message are reliant on the formats that deliver them just as much as the messages themselves.

Conforming to McLuhan’s logic, the aphorism gained a notoriety and with it a reputation as a medium of its own; frequently punning on the word “message” by changing it to “massage,” “mass age,” and “mess age,” McLuhan perpetuated his axiom, punned or not, so that whenever invoked, the history and ever-evolving context of the phrase added meaning to what he was saying.

Establishing himself as a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a popular culture critic, a rhetorician, a communication theorist, and arguably a messiah of the Internet age (it is often argued that McLuhan predicted the World Wide Web almost 30 years before it was invented), like his equation (and as he would argue, everything ever), McLuhan was a medium of his own, and whenever he is brought up, there is a direct impact on the meaning of the discussion. Outside of his own work that included theoretical advertising, writing, and visual art, that is no clearer anywhere but in a collection of collage and video artwork by artist Panchal Mansaram.

Mansaram has been creating artwork since immigrating to Canada in 1966 and soon after becoming friends with McLuhan. Currently on display in the gallery space at Ed Video, Intersection­ – Mansaram & McLuhan features work that Mansaram has created both out of inspiration from and in collaboration with McLuhan between 1966 to 2012. It is a show that began as Rear View Window, a collection of 40 collaborative painting/collages, films and audio that were created by himself and with McLuhan in the late ’60s and early ’70s at the Picture Loan Gallery in Toronto. It has since been displayed at the distinguished Isaacs Gallery in Toronto and toured the Atlantic provinces as well as India.

The collection was born out of a common interest that Mansaram and McLuhan had in Eastern and Western culture.

Included on display is a description of Mansaram’s work that Marshall McLuhan wrote in 1973. Therein, McLuhan claimed that Mansaram presents “a natural dialogue” between Eastern and Western culture.

“As the West loses its intense visual preference and enters the iconic world of sculptural and acoustic values, the painterly and graphic idiom of India gains steadily in Western habits of acceptance,” McLuhan wrote. “Mansaram is a kind of two-way mirror, living simultaneously in the divided and distinguished worlds of the East and West.”

Intersection­ – Mansaram & McLuhan is free and open to the public until Jun. 29, with an opening reception held on Jun. 8 at Ed Video Gallery, 40 Baker Street, Guelph, Canada.   http://tinyurl.com/buzmkoh

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